The Bingham Cup rugby tournament will be held in Nashville this year from May 22-29, the first time the event has been held in the U.S. since 2010. The organizers have teamed up with a suicide prevention network in Tennessee to help LGBT people coping with their sexuality.
Keegan Hirst, an openly gay pro rugby player, talked about the value of having someone to lean on. "I'd tell someone to just try and talk to someone about something. It's probably easier if it's a stranger. Just getting things off your chest is a massive help. I wish I'd have had someone to speak to about things. As soon as i started opening up to people about what i was thinking and feeling I instantly felt better. As much as it's a cliche that's used, it did feel like a weight off."
The release from the organizers:
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) is the Charity of Choice of the 2016 Bingham Cup, the world championship of gay rugby. TSPN is a public-private partnership of counselors, mental health professionals and community advocates dedicated to the goal of reducing suicide rates in the state of Tennessee. TSPN works across the state to eliminate mental health stigma and educate communities about the warning signs of suicide with the goal of reducing suicide rates.
"For various reasons, LGBTQ people are more susceptible to suicide. They are subject to stressors such as bullying, discrimination, being closeted, and a lack of support from family and friends. Also, they often have less access to mental health resources," says Scott Ridgway, TSPN’s Executive Director. "As the Charity of Choice, TSPN will have the opportunity to offer suicide prevention training to players and guests ahead of the tournament, helping to spread the message of suicide prevention across the U.S. and around the world."
Though there have been no empirical nation-wide studies on the occurrence of suicide among LGBTQ people, there is evidence that LGBTQ youths are significantly more susceptible to suicide and suicide ideation. Precise numbers vary, but studies suggest LGBTQ males are 55% more prone to suicidal ideation than their heterosexual counterparts. According to a 2001 study, LGBTQ youths surveyed estimated that roughly half their suicidal thoughts are connected to their sexual orientation. Furthermore, suicide attempts by LGBTQ youths tend to be more often result in death or serious.
"We are very fortunate to have in Tennessee an organization that works with all people, including the LGBTQ community, to promote mental health resources and suicide prevention training," says Jon Glassmeyer, chairman of the Bingham Cup organizing committee.
Gay and inclusive sporting events like the Bingham Cup can help break down stigmas that deter LGBTQ people from participating in team sports. LGBTQ students are disproportionately more likely to be harassed or bullied on team sports and in PE class according to a study by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and, as a result, are underrepresented in school athletics teams. The Bingham Cup and gay rugby are dedicated to being welcoming to all players, regardless of their orientation.
People struggling with suicidal thoughts should seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is +1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained counselors are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Nashville Grizzlies RFC will host the 2016 Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament in the "Music City" of Nashville, Tennessee from Monday, May 22 through Sunday, May 29. This will be the first time since 2010 that the tournament has been held in the USA and is the first time it has ever been held in the Mid-South.